The American Psychiatric Association reported that more than a third of Americans said COVID-19 is having a serious impact on their mental health. And while remote working has perks that can ease the strain, like the elimination of commutes, being off-site can also increase anxiety, especially for those trying to balance work and family.

Even before the pandemic, workers were stressed, with 40% saying their jobs are very or extremely stressful according to the American Institute of Stress. For these overburdened workers, vacations are typically a time to recharge. But some workers can’t get away this summer due to travel restrictions while others feel guilty or worry it may threaten their job security.

While in normal times, most Americans don’t use all their time off, here’s why you should encourage your team to take a vacation this summer – even if they don’t actually go anywhere.

Reduces Burnout: Stress can impact an employee’s ability to perform their duties, affecting their performance. And working from home can drive employees to work even more hours, especially in companies where teams are now leaner. That’s why workers need opportunities to disconnect from work and recover.
Increases Satisfaction: Vacations allow employees the chance to destress and feel happier. And in the age of COVID-19, the time away is also important for strengthening connections, especially following a long period of lockdowns. By promoting positivity, vacations boost employees’ satisfaction with their life, which can make them happier and more engaged at work.

Promotes Productivity: Remote workers often feel like they’re always on, and that can add to stress levels and burnout. Since vacations allow for relaxation, when employees come back after, they’re often reinvigorated, more effective, and focused on performing. They’re also better able to make decisions, cope with challenges, and contribute to the broader team.

Lowers Health Risks: There’s a direct correlation between stress and health. In fact, researchers estimate work-induced stress makes up to eight percent of national spending on healthcare, according to the Harvard Business School. That’s why it’s important for employees to use vacations as an opportunity to lower the risk for heart attack and other conditions caused by stress like high blood pressure and stroke – which can translate into fewer absences as well.


By Sam Slade is Managing Director, Employee Benefits, at The Hilb Group of New England,